Ah, maple syrup! That sweet elixir that transforms all breakfast foods — and the occasional entrée — into lip-smacking, finger-licking delights.
The season for syrup has sprung, and the gateway to maple madness is right at our back door.
New York state is the nation’s second largest producer of maple syrup, responsible for making at least 546,000 gallons of the golden goodness for four out of the last five years, according to The New York Times.
The cold nights and mild days of recent weeks encourage maple sap to flow, which means maple syrup season is upon us. Check out these tasty ways to get up close and personal with the sugar houses, craftsfolk and culinary talents that make pure maple magic happen in Upstate New York.
Maple Weekend (March 19-20 and April 2-3 at more than 150 participating locations)
The New York State Maple Producers Association has made it super simple to get your maple fix. On Maple Weekends, more than 150 farms, museums, sugar houses and more offer maple-friendly events including tastings, tours and product sales. Most activities are free; special events and items like pancake breakfasts and maple candy are available at an additional charge.
The Maple Weekend website makes it easy for you to plan a trip with their handy planning page. Spend a whole trip marveling over maple syrup or work a quick pit stop into a weekend getaway. The planner locates participating organizations and businesses in an area of interest.
Here are a handful of maple producers within 75 miles of NYC participating in Maple Weekend:
- White Oak Farm (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.): In addition to a sweet sugar house, White Oak has a sawmill and woodworking facility for any custom wood needs.
- Crown Maple (Dover Plains, N.Y.): Along with syrup and sugar tastings, homespun maple cotton candy and more, you can observe tapping demonstrations and tours from this certified-organic supplier.
- Corey’s Fall Harvest Farm (Highland, N.Y.): Tour the sugarbush, get an inside peek at how the sugar shack works, and sample sap-tastic treats like maple snow cones.
- Soukup Farm (Dover Plains, N.Y.): Tapping trees since 1955, this small-scale producer prides itself on hand-crafted methods using a wood-fired evaporator.
Central New York Maple Festival (April 2-3 in Marathon, N.Y.)
Meet maple royalty at the 46th annual Central New York Maple Festival in Marathon, where each year they crown the Maple Festival Queen amid a two-day festival of maple-soaked fun. Witness the thrills and chills of the event’s famous pancake-eating contest while picking up tips on devouring your own personal pancake feast. With vendors, entertainment and contests, the Maple Festival may be the sweetest celebration around.
The American Maple Museum (Croghan, N.Y.)
The true maple aficionado will go the extra mile to trek way up north to visit the American Maple Museum. This quaint collection of maple memorabilia and equipment showcases how maple sap is collected, processed and transformed into everyone’s favorite waffle topper. Explore the lore of lumberjacks, view the lineage of the Maple Queens, and take a peek at all the sap buckets, taps and evaporators a true maple fan could ever dream of.
Which maple event do you think is too sweet to miss?
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